Child vi­o­lence at tip­ping point

Calls for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of tighter laws and part­ner­ships

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - Siyabonga Sesant siyabonga.sesant@inl.co.za

VI­O­LENCE against chil­dren in the coun­try was at cri­sis lev­els, with one in three young­sters at risk of be­com­ing vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault and phys­i­cal abuse be­fore they reached 18, a gov­ern­ment in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee has found.

Sta­tis­tics also in­di­cate chil­dren un­der the age of five were most likely to be abused and killed at home, while teenage boys were in­creas­ingly at risk of be­ing killed in the con­text of male-on-male in­ter­per­sonal vi­o­lence.

“It’s a cri­sis,” deputy-di­rec­tor gen­eral of So­cial De­vel­op­ment Conny Nxumalo said yes­ter­day.

“Look­ing at the ev­i­dence, it’s clear we are now past the time of just talk­ing. We need to iden­tify what the best prac­tice is to pro­tect our women and chil­dren go­ing for­ward.”

Un­der the Mandela Ini­tia­tive um­brella, ex­perts gath­ered in Cape Town this week for what they called an “ac­tion di­a­logue”, which looked at how laws and their im­ple­men­ta­tion could be strength­ened.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity, 19 chil­dren had been killed in the Western Cape since Jan­uary. This has been con­demned by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Two Khayelit­sha chil­dren were mur­dered re­cently; four-year-old Iyapha Yamile’s body was found in an in­for­mal set­tle­ment in the area at the be­gin­ning of this month, while 14-month-old Lin­dokuhle Kota was killed sev­eral days prior.

Stacha Arendse, 11, from Mitchells Plain and Rene Ro­man, 13, from Laven­der Hill were mur­dered ear­lier this year.

“For me, it’s not re­ally about the laws,” said Lucy Jamieson, a se­nior re­searcher at UCT’s Chil­dren’s In­sti­tute.

“It’s re­ally the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the laws.

“The (Court­ney) Pi­eters case has got the coun­try talk­ing, and that’s good, be­cause every week at least two rape/homi­cides are re­ported. That’s ab­so­lutely hor­rific,” Jamieson said.

“So­cial work­ers need train­ing, and so do po­lice and in­di­vid­u­als... We need to do things dif­fer­ently if we are go­ing to win this fight.”

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Child Care Work­ers’ deputy di­rec­tor, Don­ald Ngho­nyama, agreed.

“The so­cial sec­tor needs to come to­gether and part­ner with NGOs be­cause I don’t think we are do­ing enough ad­vo­cacy around is­sues af­fect­ing chil­dren.”

Unicef SA pro­gramme’s Si­nah Moru­ane said: “There are con­crete po­si­tions we have taken to com­bat vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.” –

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